It was an exciting day all round at the new Athlone IT Indoor Stadium today. For seniors, juniors and juveniles alike it was a memorable occasion, competing as they were in Ireland’s first international standard state of the art indoor track. Professor Ciaran O’Cathain, the driving force behind this superb facility, took a break from his starting duties and was ready to resolve any teething problems that might arise during the day. He need not have worried because everything went like clockwork. Coaches, spectators and officials alike marvelled at the magnificent facility and heaped praise on Professor O’Cathain. For athletes there can be no excuses at not being able to produce world class performances in such a world class facility.
There were several close finishes during the course of the day, but none closer than the U14 boys. Padraig Nash (Belgooly AC) got the off to a great start by winning the 60m hurdles in 9.92, with David Ryan (Moycarkey Coolcroo AC) second in 10.27. That was the start of a tremendous competition with Ryan winning the high jump (1.48m), the long jump (4.71m) before finishing second to Thomas Mullen (Lifford AC) in the shot. Nash finished ahead of Ryan in the final event, the 800m and when the points were totalled it was Ryan who was the winner by a solitary point from Nash. They don’t come any closer than that after five events.
Katie O’Donoghue (Craughwell AC) won the junior event with 13 points to spare over Vivian Fleischer (Celbridge AC), while Shane Aston (Trim AC) had 23 points to spare over Eric Stam (Bandon AC) in the junior men’s event.
Its not too often that a combined events competition brings together two competitors who are so closely matched that they are almost inseparable. It happened today in the Youth Boys competition that saw Mark Peters (St. Peter’s AC) finish ahead of arch rival Sam Healy (Belgooly AC) in the shot and 800m, while Healy was ahead in the 60m hurdles and long jump. To complicate things they both cleared 1.87m in the high jump, giving both a grand total of 3630 points each. The only way to separate them was Rogers scored the highest number of points in a single event – 951 in the high jump to earn hin the gold medal.